If you live in Raleigh, NC chances are that you have heard of Pendo. Pendo, a customer engagement analytics software, raised a $100 million Series E and as of 2019, was valued at $1 billion, making it a rare North Carolina Unicorn and the talk of the entrepreneurial town! Pendo’s Director of Communication, Laura Baverman, describes Pendo as a “product cloud that helps digital product teams and application owners deliver software experiences that users love.”
What most people might not know about Pendo is its homegrown roots. Not only did Pendo grow out of the local community in Raleigh NC, but they also began, as many early stage start-ups do, out of a small community-based coworking space. In this case, HQ!
In 2011, Pendo founder, Todd Olson, began working out of HQ to start on his business, “HQ felt simple because it allowed me to focus on what matters — getting product/market fit,” Explained Olson, “In prior companies, I leased space, rented or purchased furniture, procured network services, and coffee. None of those things helped my startup. HQ helped me focused on what really mattered in the early days.”
Since its inception, Todd and Pendo’s leadership has been committed to staying in the Raleigh community, “I started my last company in Raleigh and really laid roots for my family here then. We had the opportunity to move Pendo to San Francisco in the early days, but ultimately saw Raleigh as a competitive advantage. We have access to talent from the tech community as well as local universities; it’s affordable; and people want to live and raise families here. We’ve had a lot of success moving people to Raleigh from the Bay Area or other tech hubs, and we expect that trend to continue.”
As they continue to grow in Raleigh, they are often praised as a top place to work in the area, “I’m proud that we started focusing on culture early in Pendo’s history, and that it remains a top focus as we grow. We set core values in the early days and regularly revisit them to make sure they are still relevant. We make sure that they are part of our daily conversations and decision-making at Pendo—we plaster them on the walls of every office—and we give out “pank” awards every quarter to employees who put these values into action,” says Olson, “We also measure the culture. Every week we take a “pulse” on the health of the organization using a tool called 15Five. Every quarter we measure eNPS. Between those methods, we have a real-time measure on the cultural health of the organization.”
And even though Pendo now has a billion dollar valuation, that doesn’t mean they have even bigger goals ahead, “The $1 billion valuation means we have a lot more work to do. It’s a milestone, sure, but it’s not a figure that we dwell on or think a lot about. We’ve set out to build a very large company—the recent round of funding gives us the ability to be even more aggressive in doing just that.”
As Todd looks forward for his company, he looks back to offer some simple advice for growing start-ups, “Focus on first principles. Build a product that delivers real value to customers. Build a culture that attracts and retains the highest quality people. That’s it.”
To read more about Pendo, head over to their website and see the progress their making in the Raleigh community and beyond!